Landmines and other war weapons need to be removed in Rakhine before IDPs return villages

Soung Zarchi
Narinjara News, 30 November 2020

Residents and lawmakers allege that landmines and explosive devices in Rakhine State need to be removed before the refugees return to villages as those are causing frequent deaths and injuries to the citizens.

Daw Khin Saw Wai, a Pyithu Hluttaw (People's Assembly) member from Rathedaung township commented that landmines and war remnant munitions should be removed as soon as possible because some internally displaced refugees are now expected to return as the fighting between
the Tatmadaw and Arakan Army is now stopped.

Soon after the national elections on 8 November, the situation starts improving. Many refugees are returning to their villages as it is the harvesting time. So immediate removal of landmines and explosive remnants of war becomes the need of the hour, she added.

On 28 November, a 50-year-old village woman named Daw Ma Phyu lost one of her legs when a landmine exploded in an orchid garden under Kazukaing village of Ann township.

Earlier on  21 November,  a 19-year-old Muslim man from Halapai village under Minbya township lost both of his legs in a landmine explosion at a palm garden in Kyatma Tay village of the same township.

Ko Myo Lwin, a social activist from Ann Township stated that many refugees wanted to return to their villages, but they remain apprehensive about the landmines and also the military bases in and around their areas.

"Even those living in villages are now scared of coming out their places. So the refugees would naturally find it difficult to return back. Everyone is scared of landmines," he added.

Till date, as stated by Rakhine Ethnics Congress (REC), the explosions due to landmine and other volatile devices have killed 33 people and injured 73 individuals in Rakhine State during the last two years.

REC secretary Zaw Zaw Tun asserted that the landmines and IEDs needed to be removed immediately. He expected that the ceasefire agreement between the security personnel and AA members would pave the way for a secured ambience very soon.

Across Myanmar, the landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) blasts have killed 13 people and injured  56 others including children since January to September 2020, said an UNICEF report released on 23 November.

Among the victims,  35% belong to the young group of people, where  Rakhine State accounts 47% of all children deaths. #